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Welcome to the November edition of Local Government Matters. 

We are regularly advising Councils about the best way for them to secure social impact through their projects. Whether that is in outsourced services contracts, through commercialisation of operations or in regeneration projects. As a firm we also want to do the best that we can to a responsible business. We have including in this month’s publication our first Responsible Business report setting out what we have done and what further we promise to do to hold ourselves accountable for the environmental, social and governance impacts of our business. 

We have also included lots of other interesting insights from different parts of our local government practice including topical employment issues, regeneration, cyber security and Public Subsidy. 

List of articles:

An agenda for change – tackling our Environmental, social and governance (ESG) promises  

Through a deep understanding of the interface between business, public sector and communities, we're helping organisations to achieve sustainable, responsible, and resilient growth and change. 

In our report 'An Agenda for Change', the first Responsible Business Report from Trowers & Hamlins, we outline in greater detail than we have done before how we are tackling the environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda which continues to grip the business community and how we are making ourselves accountable. 

In one of our latest Trowers Tuesday employment and pensions webinars, we focussed on the role of HR in becoming a responsible employer. 

The cyber landscape of the Public Sector Whitepaper

We are delighted to launch this white paper which delves into the increased threat of cybersecurity attacks and the nature of cybercrimes that public sector organisations and local government face. 

Thinking Business - Opportunities presented by the new public subsidy 

As of 1 January 2021, EU state aid law ceased to apply in Great Britain for new subsidies granted from that date. Since then the UK has been in a transitional period to introduce the post-Brexit subsidy control regime. A major milestone came when the Subsidy Control Act received royal assent in April 2022 and the transition period will end on 4 January 2023 when the Subsidy Control Act and related statutory guidance comes fully into effect. A major difference introduced by the UK subsidy regime is that local authorities are required to self-assess whether the financial assistance they grant is consistent with key subsidy principles, and they must publish information about most of their subsidies via a new database.

Why the industry needs a radical rethink of regeneration?

Successful regeneration brings together key stakeholders and communities to deliver a long-term vision that acts as a catalyst for change. In this article Senior Partner Sara Bailey, sets out her view on why the property sector needs to 'rethink regen' and how you can get involved in the conversation. 

Covid-19 Inquiry – Module 3 Opens

On 8 November 2022, the Covid-19 Inquiry opened its third investigation into the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on healthcare (Module 3) and is inviting applications for "Core Participant" status. Module 3 is part of a series of investigations announced by the Chair of the Covid-19 Inquiry (the Inquiry), Baroness Heather Hallett, to begin this year. 

Social Housing (Regulation) Bill – amendments

The Social Housing (Regulation) Bill has been making its way through the various readings in the House of Lords. On the 31st October, the Bill received its 3rd reading, being the final stage in the House of Lords. The Bill is now to be considered by the House of Commons before it receives Royal Assent.

Managing conflicting beliefs

The recent spate of cases and press coverage on gender critical beliefs shows how easy it is for the beliefs of one individual to conflict with those of another.  This conflict may result in employees being treated less favourably in the workplace because they hold certain beliefs. Or, if strongly held beliefs are openly expressed, it may mean other employees feeling uncomfortable to the point where the behaviour has a negative impact on their dignity at work.  All this leads to the risk of potential harassment and discrimination claims against local authorities.

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